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F1 eyeing race in Marrakesh

NEWS STORY
16/05/2019

For a global sport, there is still one major omission in terms of the F1 calendar, the continent of Africa.

And while there has long been talk of heading back to South Africa, according to F1 commercial boss, Sean Bratches, in addition to a return there, the Moroccan city of Marrakesh is also in talks to host a round of the world championship.

"We race on five continents and the last habituated continent that we don’t race in is Africa," said Bratches at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London. "We have proactively been approached by Morocco and Marrakech to take a grand prix there. There is a high degree of interest.

"Formula One raced in South Africa before, "he continued, there is a historic track in Kyalami, but I have been told that due to political considerations historically, that ceased.

"We are looking in the short term to have a race there. It is really important to us to have a race in Africa."

Since the inception of the Formula One World Championship in 1950, 21 South African Grands Prix have been held, the first three at East London and the remainder at Kyalami, which last hosted an F1 race in 1993.

While there have been 13 Grands Prix in Morocco, dating back to 1925, only one - that run in 1958 - formed part of the world championship.

Won by Stirling Moss, the event was overshadowed by the death of British driver Stuart Lewis-Evans.

At a time the futures of Silverstone, Barcelona, Hockenheim and Mexico City are in serious doubt, while many would welcome the return of South Africa, it is unlikely that anyone would view a race in Marrakesh with the same enthusiasm.

While Zandvoort and Vietnam are added to the calendar in 2020, it is unclear which two races will make way for them, with Bratches once again confirming that the schedule is for 21 races.

"We are optimistic about the prospect of a 21 Grand Prix schedule next year," he said. "I don't think we are going to have more than that."

Referring to the prospect of a second race in the United States, he added: "In an ideal circumstance we would be racing downtown Miami or downtown Las Vegas, those are the two cities that best align with our brand and our aspirations.

"We are going to try and create the best experience in each market that circumstances will permit, not only from a racing standpoint but a fan engagement and economic standpoint it's still viable."

Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, Yath Gangakumaran, F1's director of Strategy and Business Development, revealed that Rwanda and Nigeria are keen to host fan events.

"I think Rwanda in particular have seen the benefits of the Arsenal sponsorship deal," he said, referring to a sponsoorship deal which saw a south London football club of minor importance sporting 'Visit Rwanda' logos on its shirts. "There's a lot of interest not just for races but for actuations throughout the continent."

Let's hope that any deals done with officials in Nigeria, in particular, are not carried out by email.

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1. Posted by Saty1, 19/05/2019 4:15

"It looks like the new F1 has not met a corrupt government they didn't like. Nigeria is too insane a choice to even contemplate. They could giveaway Sunday passes to the kidnapped children of Boko Haram if they can find them, because the government they may grace with a race taken from Europe can't.
I think host nations should have a local history of sanctioned sports car racing and racing fans not just people turning out to see a spectacle like a 3 day circus.
That is how F1 markets itself as a spectacle with an auto race and other events as there is not a native racing fan base."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Saty1, 19/05/2019 3:35

"If F1 creates new races at the expense of European venues I will certainly lose interest. Liberty is gutting F1 of its heritage one venue at a time."

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3. Posted by Ro, 17/05/2019 17:03

"@FE427 you are so mixed up that I would seek a job at Liberty Media !"

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4. Posted by FE 427, 17/05/2019 15:27

"apologies I meant post 4's observations !! :o)"

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5. Posted by FE 427, 17/05/2019 15:25

"I am sure post 2's effects have no relation whatsoever to an aspect of post 3's observations."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Tardis40, 16/05/2019 16:53

"And of course the circuit would be dubbed "The Marrakesh Express""

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7. Posted by Editor, 16/05/2019 16:07

"Ro,

Following a 'holiday' in Tangier, I informed the travel agent that the only way I'd return there would be in a B52 at 30,000 feet.

30 years later I still suffering the after effects."

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8. Posted by Ro, 16/05/2019 15:54

"You must be joking! Ive been to Marrakesh and to be honest it should be voted as the anus of earth. What a dump. Poverty, prostitution in every corner, and corrupt politicians. What is wrong with Media Liberty? Are they that greedy? Do they really want to derail the merry-go-round? What a bunch of idiots.
"

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